First Look – 2012 Bontrager RXL Mountain Bike Shoes

2012 Bontrager RXL mountain bike shoes weights details and initial review

2012 Bontrager RXL mountain bike shoes weights details and initial review

For 2012, the top of the line Bontrager RXL mountain bike is complete new except for the Micro-Fit buckle, which was introduced in 2011.

The basics: The RXL (Race X Lite) uses a very stiff, lightweight Silver Series carbon sole with a mix of fixed, dual injected TPU lugs and removable/replaceable forefoot tread blocks. The upper is their InForm Pro last, which is the same last used introduced on the insanely lightweight 2011 RXXXL road shoes. The MTB version has a textured rubber synthetic microfiber protection at the toe and running along the length of the shoe above the sole. Above that it transitions to a glossy section of the same synthetic microfiber and then a mesh. The tongue is well padded and vented.

Now for the weight and details…

2012 Bontrager RXL mountain bike shoes weights details and initial review

The size 47 shoe comes in at 445g per shoe. That’s 0.98lbs per shoe, or just shy of 2lbs for the pair.

2012 Bontrager RXL mountain bike shoes weights details and initial review

It uses two Velcro straps with an EVA padded ratcheted main strap.

2012 Bontrager RXL mountain bike shoes weights details and initial review

The Micro-Fit ratchet uses dual release buttons (black) to allow for “micro” 1.5mm releases by simply alternating which one you press. Push both simultaneously to release it fully to remove your foot. On the inner side of the shoe, the strap is adjustable to help line up the pad in the center of the foot.

The inner strap adjuster is much lower profile than past models, which is particularly good if you have carbon cranks. I rode their old shoes (2010?) with the larger strap mount and it ended up rubbing through several layers of carbon on my SRAM XO crankset within a couple of rides. That’s something I’ll be watching closely as we review these.

2012 Bontrager RXL mountain bike shoes weights details and initial review

2012 Bontrager RXL mountain bike shoes weights details and initial review

The rubber bumper provides good coverage most of the way around the shoe.

2012 Bontrager RXL mountain bike shoes weights details and initial review

The heel cup has lower vents and a pretty unique “Heel Trap” metal band. Simply squeeze to shape it around your Achilles tendon for a semi-custom fit.

2012 Bontrager RXL mountain bike shoes weights details and initial review

Another feature to keep your heel in place is the non-slip inner fabric. We’ve seen this on only a couple of brands, but it’s a great idea. The fabric is smooth when pushing down, but becomes coarse when pushing up. So, your foot slides in easily but resists sliding out thanks to the angled fabric.

2012 Bontrager RXL mountain bike shoes weights details and initial review

Huge tread blocks on either side of the cleat are replaceable. We’re thinking that also means removable, which might shed a few grams of rotational weight without hurting performance when hike-a-biking. We’ll see.

2012 Bontrager RXL mountain bike shoes weights details and initial review

The only visible part of the carbon sole is a thin V-shaped strip. The rest is protected by the tread and a diamond-ribbed plastic section.

2012 Bontrager RXL mountain bike shoes weights details and initial review

Lastly, the insoles are heat moldable for a custom fit. Simply remove the arches, stick them in the oven at 200º for two minutes or until the indicator sticker turns black, then quickly reassemble them, insert into shoes and put them on. Stand still for three minutes and they’ll harden to your foot’s shape. The instructions say this can be repeated two more times if necessary.

The Bontrager RXL MTB shoes retail for $279 and should hit stores in January. They’re available in sizes 37 to 48 EU, with some half sizes in the middle of the range. Wide lasts are available in 40-48 EU. Color options are black or white.

Comments

10 thoughts on “First Look – 2012 Bontrager RXL Mountain Bike Shoes

  1. I had 2009 RL’s and 2010 RXL’s for one year, each. At the one year mark, the shoes began to fall apart. The first pair (RL’s) started to separate between the shoe and the carbon sole. Eventually the shoe ripped in half while riding. The RXL’s began to do the exact same thing about a year after purchase but I decided not to push my luck. I immediately bought S-Works shoes and have since discovered a new level of comfort, ventilation, and durability. Don’t get me wrong, Bontrager makes some quality products, but that generation of shoes does not fall into that category. I have heard of multiple instances of shoes ripping or simply having the sole crack in half. Hopefully Bontrager has learned from its past mistakes and remedied the durability issues.

  2. nice slippers. got a pair already.

    sounds like the author, Tyler could use a cleat fitting where they actually address pedal spindle lenghth (Speedplay!).

  3. The dual buttons on the ratchet is overkill. Once you know what you need, you could put your cycling shoes on in a pitch black box.

    I have some 2008 rxl road shoes. Got them for $60 in 2009. No way in hell I would spend almost $300 for these. Of course, I can barely afford to eat, lately.

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